Update from Lila Mae’s House in Sioux City

Lila Mae's HouseLila Mae’s House has now reopened after being closed during the Covid-19 statewide lockdown. Their mission is to provide a safe, healthy environment where adult survivors of sex trafficking can rest, heal, recover and develop life skills to become empowered, independent and self-sufficient women.

Lila Mae’s House is a two-year transitional home for women, 18 and over, who have been domestically sex trafficked. Women engage in their healing as they experience opportunities for self-care, basic life skills, trauma therapy, job skills, legal assistance, and more. They are also using Eco or Natural Therapy, which is the practice of using the healing aspects of the natural environments to decrease stress and anxiety, and to rejuvenate the brain and body. Lila Mae’s House staff currently consists of Marit Westrich, Executive Director; Laura Malcolm, Senior Case Manager; and Cassy Lankster, House Manager. They have room for 7 women and currently have openings.

Please contact Laura Malcolm for referrals, laura@lilamaeshouse.org, 712-899-6211. Lila Mae’s House ● PO Box 1281 ● Sioux City, IA 51104 ● info@lilamaeshouse.orgwww.lilamaeshouse.org

Friends of the Family Inc. receives $472,722 federal grant for rapid rehousing

Friends of the FamilyFriends of the Family recently received a 3 year grant from the Department of Justice to provide rapid rehousing support to survivors of human trafficking. The new program will accept survivor referrals from anywhere in Iowa, however, the survivor will need to relocate to Friends of the Family primary service area in 14 counties which include: Allamakee, Black Hawk, Bremer, Benton, Buchanan, Chickasaw, Clayton, Delaware, Dubuque, Fayette, Howard, Linn, Jones, and Winneshiek.

The goal of the program is to provide rental and utility assistance for up to 24 months in private market housing by partnering with landlords to make safe/affordable housing available. The rapid rehousing program will be serving survivors in 10 rental units at any given time. Friends of the Family will provide case management to survivors on an ongoing basis to help wrap needed services around them as the survivor moves towards self-sufficiency. Friends of the Family is grateful for this federal funding and excited about the future for human trafficking services in northeast and eastern Iowa.

Iowans can call for services at 1-800-410-7233 or call 319-352-1108 to talk with a member of their team about the expanded services. You can also find more information at their website: https://www.fofia.org/.

This is the second Iowa survivor restoration center to receive a major federal human trafficking transitional living grant this fall. You can read about the YSS $600,000 grant in the September blog.

Update from Chains Interrupted and Cedar Rapids Anti-Trafficking Coalition

TeresaTeresa Davidson is the co-founder of Chains Interrupted in Cedar Rapids (pictured on the right) and recently shared news that the non-profit has hired Terri Claire as their new executive director, who started October 5th. One focus of Chains Interrupted is on human trafficking education. They currently have five education projects which include school, hotel/motel, financial institution, medical, and general public education. While in person trainings have decreased due to COVID-19, Chains Interrupted continues to present virtually. Teresa also shared that Chains Interrupted has a new education coordinator, Ann Thompson, who is a volunteer. Chains Interrupted plans to increase their marketing campaigns and have a support group for parents but will hold off on startup until the group can meet safely due to Covid-19.

Teresa reports that Chains Interrupted continues to provide advocacy in Linn County and is operating a low supervision residential program known as the Harbor House. The Harbor House serves women over the age of 18 who have been victimized by human trafficking, and are in a place on their journey to gain independent living in 6 months to one year. They recently announced an expansion of survivor service advocacy into Johnson County.

Teresa also shared some statistics from the Mercy Medical Center (MMC) human trafficking program. In fiscal year 2019, Teresa received 58 survivor referrals. In fiscal year 2020, she has already received 71 referrals and 14 more since July 1st. The Eastern Iowa Regional Task Force (EIRTF), created through MMC, is reorganizing and addressing the changes in the landscape of human trafficking in 2020. Teresa reports that in addition to the state of Iowa, she has shared the MMC Anti-Human Trafficking program information in 26 States and 3 countries.

In October of 2019, Teresa was appointed by President Trump to serve on the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Advisory Council to End Human Trafficking. Co-Council member Linda Smith, the founder of Shared Hope International, recently invited Teresa Davidson to Washington D.C. to meet with senators and congress. Teresa reports their trip was a success, as they were able to meet with Senators Grassley, Ernst, Graham and Cornyn. They were also able to meet with a survivor from the US Advisory Council to End Human Trafficking, the Special Advisor to the White House on Human Trafficking, and the Director of Policy at NCOSE. The PPP met with the President’s Interagency Task Force (PITF) on Monday, October 19th to discuss their report, and host a virtual release of the report after the election. Once the report is released, it will be available to the public on the State Department’s website, among other places such as the NAHT blog post.
For more information you may contact Teresa at teresa@chainsinterrupted.com and by her Mercy office number: 319.369.4415 or her emergency number: 319.356.2027. Chains Interrupted can be found at www.ChainsInterrupted.com or at PO Box 583 | Cedar Rapids, IA, 52406. Follow them on Facebook here.

Dorothy’s House Re-opens

Dorothy’s House furloughed its staff at the end of March due to Covid-19 health crisis. They had 3 women actively in their program at the time and founder and executive director, Kellie Markey made sure that their world did not blow up just because of the pandemic.

Dorothy’s House struggled through the summer months without its staff and volunteer team. They successfully reopened in July.

Part of the expansion of care at Dorothy’s House includes a subsidized transitional housing program for all survivor profiles (men, LGBTQ+, women with custody of their minor children and those still struggling with active addiction and survivors of labor trafficking) where they can establish safety and begin their healing journey with the support and services offered through its Care Coaches.

Last year, Dorothy’s House tore down the home on their second property to prevent it from falling down. They are currently in the process of rebuilding this home to provide residential services and support for 4 additional survivors. Their plan is to fill this home with young women survivors. As in the past, their focus will continue to be providing young women with a safe and supportive environment where they can discover new healthy practices of life so they may grow and change their belief systems about their value and worth in the world, learning to establish safe relationships and boundaries, and forgiveness as they build upon the skills necessary for successful independence in our community.

You can contact Dorothy’s House here: Dorothy’s House | PO Box 57672 | Des Moines, IA 50317 | info@dorothyshouse.org | 515-777-4383 | www.dorothyshouse.org

Two-year report from the Iowa Human Trafficking Victim Service Fellow

Iowa Legal AidLauren Camp recently presented a two-year report on the outcome of her human trafficking fellowship as an attorney with Iowa Legal Aid. The Crime Victims Justice Fellowship started in July 2018 and Lauren just completed it this past July. Lauren had just graduated from law school at Creighton University and was granted the two-year fellowship in human trafficking and placed with Iowa Legal Aid. She started her fellowship in Council Bluffs and was relocated to Cedar Rapids after 3 months.

She received training as a trauma-informed lawyer and was given a statewide assignment. In the last two years, Lauren trained a total of 350 Iowans, including attorneys, law enforcement, and community members. She spoke at two League of Women Voters events. Lauren screened 202 potential victims of human trafficking. This process involved identifying clients for domestic violence, employment issues, and asking questions relating to sex trafficking. She ended up serving 109 survivors of human trafficking clients in two years. Some of these didn’t involve direct court representation, but instead involved resource advice or referrals.

Lauren shared some additional statistics about her two year fellowship. She reported only 4 of her clients were minor victims. Human trafficking clients were close to 50/50 between males and females, with a few more females than males. Only 22% of victims were under 25 years old and 77% were over 25. Another metric was that 55% identified themselves as white and 45% non-white. Her caseload was also close to 50/50 between sex trafficking and labor trafficking victims. Lauren reports that she got clients from group labor trafficking cases which might’ve affected some of the statistics.

Lauren also serves on the 20 member NAHT Board of Directors. Although her fellowship has ended, she will continue as a staff attorney at Iowa Legal Aid. To invite Lauren Camp to speak or to make a referral contact her at lcamp@iowalaw.org or 319-364-6108.

Information, Articles, and Resources

  1. Virtual Launch Party, November 5, 2020 from 6-7pm
    Join the Set Me Free Project as they celebrate the launch of their new, READY to Stand curriculum! Log on and learn more about how The Set Me Free Project is preventing human trafficking in Iowa communities. Click here to register.
  2. This protocol toolkit was developed by Hope for Justice and HEAL Trafficking for service to victims of human trafficking in healthcare settings: HEAL Trafficking Protocol Toolkit (PDF)
  3. This report is based on empirical data collected by survivors of human trafficking from 40 countries. Download report here (PDF)
  4. Here is a podcast entitled, “Ways we Shoot our Wounded in the Anti-Trafficking Movement that has to Stop”
    Traffickers are the ones who abuse, shame, and take the victims freedom. Listen to this podcast and learn more about a rush to judgement in passing harsh and stiff anti-trafficking laws that can end up damaging some victims.
    Click here for Podcast
  5. Predators are seizing the moment. How can we best respond? How can we protect our kids from online predators?
  6. Rethinking Human Trafficking Representation
  7. Shared Hope International has produced a blog concerning the recent increase in well-intentioned concern about child sexual exploitation that, unfortunately, has much misinformation connected with it. The blog is at: https://sharedhope.org/2020/08/17/fact-or-conspiracy-theory-how-the-spread-of-misinformation-threatens-effective-solutions-that-address-child-sex-trafficking/For a complete list of Shared Hope’s Internet Safety FREE Digital Downloads, please visit: https://sharedhope.org/internetsafety/.
  8. An International Comparative Public Health Analysis of Sex Trafficking of Women and Girls in Eight Cities: Achieving a More Effective Health Sector Response. Download report here (PDF).
  9. Our friends at NebraskaPATH have a free series of webinars on commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC). You might be interested in joining one of these webinars. Registration links can be found below:
    1. Survivors in Our Systems, November 12, 12:30- 2pm CT, Register Here
      – Review how and why our child-serving systems often miss the mark when it comes to both identifying and responding to CSEC
      – Understand a survivor’s protective mindsets
      – Explore our views of child victims and survivors and how this can impact our work with them
    2. How We Respond, December 2, 12:30 – 2pm CT, Register Here
      – Understand the range of what safety and justice looks like for survivors of CSEC
      – Review “the Relationship is the Intervention”
      – Explore the Nebraska Standards of Care for Victims/Survivors and the WCA Indigo Program Model
  10. HEAL Trafficking has announced its next HEAL Research Committee webinar on Tuesday, November 10th, 2020 @10am PT | 1pm ET.
    1. You are invited to join their “journal club” style meeting to discuss “Queering the Support for Trafficked Persons: LGBTQ Communities and Human Trafficking in the Heartland” with Dr. Corinne Schwarz from Oklahoma State University.
    2. Please click the link below to join the webinar (no registration required):
      Passcode: 606739
  11. Man gets 304 years in prison for human trafficking in Colorado